Chinese Super League fire sale expected after new salary cap introduced

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • Updated: 17 May 2021 21:12 BST
  • 2 min read
Chinese Super League fire sale expected after new salary cap introduced

Several high-profile players currently in China could be available for cut-price deals in January, with the Chinese Super League set to introduce a new salary cap of £2.7m per year.

Over the past five years, several big names in Europe, like Carlos Tevez, Hulk, Marko Arnautovic, Oscar, and Ezequiel Lavezzi have flocked to China to subsequently become some of the highest paid players in the world.

Within the new regulations, set to be introduced soon, foreign players will have a maximum yearly pay of £2.7m, while domestic players can be paid a maximum of £572,000.

The current big names out there will have to take a very significant pay cut if they are to remain in China.

Oscar, for example, earns £18.9m a year and would have to have his salary reduced by 86% if he was to remain.

There is a compromise in place allowing for the reduction to take place over three seasons, but it is likely players like the Brazilian will look to move on from their spell in China.

Top five highest paid players in the Chinese Super League

PlayerWeekly Salary
Oscar (Shanghai SIPG)£403,000 (€450,000)
Cedric Bakambu (Beijing Guoan)£336,000 (€375,000)
Hulk (Shanghai SIPG - now left)£286,000 (€320,000)
Graziano Pelle (Shangdong Luneng)£260,000 (€290,000)
Stephan El Shaarawy (Shanghai Shenhua)£260,000 (€290,000)

Teams will be subject to points penalties if they breach the rules, and CFA president Chen Xuyuan has warned teams not to try and circumvent the rules.

“No matter how big the club is or how famous the player is, we will strictly follow the regulations with no considerations,” Xuyuan said.

“Do not test our determination.

“CSL club expenditure is about 10 times higher than South Korea’s K-League and three times higher than Japan’s J-league. But our national team is lagging far behind.

“The bubbles not only affect the present of Chinese football, but also hurt its future.”

The authorities in China are implementing the rules in order to aim to develop home grown players in order to evolve their national team.